As I’ve aged, I’ve discovered that I enjoy the journey towards Christmas much more than the day itself. I want my kids to be excited about the season as well and not just a day of getting new toys.

So we engage in a variety of traditions in our home. We bake of course: holiday cookies are a favorite and then there’s also my mother’s Cherry Nut Bread which I make every year, and mulled cider and hot chocolate for sipping next to the fire.

We also take advantage of the early sunsets and take the kids for pre-bedtime stroller walks. They get to bundle up in pajamas and warm blankets and we get a little exercise pushing them up and down the hills in Millbrae enjoying the holiday decorations and lighting.

We decorate our own home in stages, first the indoor decorations, then the outdoor lights, and then the tree.  We spread this out over the course of a few weeks so that the kids get to really enjoy the process, and so that our tree doesn’t turn brown before Christmas morning!

We go to a tree farm in Half Moon Bay and cut down our own tree every year. It’s always drizzling and chilly and foggy, all of which makes the hot cider they serve all the more delicious.

We get new holiday books from the library, trying to cover as many cultures as possible so the kids understand that there are more holiday/celebrations this time of year than Christmas. We watch DVD’s of Rudolph and Frosty and of course A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We have these family traditions which we all look forward to and which we remember year after year. They make this time of year a rich one, regardless of how many (or few) presents there are under the tree. I hope you enjoy your own family traditions this year, maybe you can even create some new ones.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Heather Marano